Patna, Aug 17 (IANS) With Bihar receiving 45 per cent less than normal rain this year, several districts of the state are in the grip of a severe drought, even though flood has made lives miserable in the neighbouring states.
Paddy sowing has been badly affected with at least 24 of the 38 districts of the state receiving less than normal rain till August 15.
According to Agriculture Department figures, there has been less than 59 per cent rain Begusarai, less than 48 per cent in Arwal, less than 40 per cent in Sheikhpura, less than 38 per cent in Patna, less than 33 per cent in Gaya and Banka and less than 29 per cent rain in Aurangabad.
Agriculture Department figures also reveal that till August 13, there was 72 per cent shortfall in the targetted paddy sowing, with crop planted in 23.50 lakh hectares of the targeted 33 lakh hectares of farm land.
The condition is critical in South Bihar, where less than 50 per cent sowing has been recorded in Patna, Nalanda, Gaya, Jehanabad, Nawada, Munger, Banka, Jamui, Lakhisarai and Sheikhpura.
The situation is a little better in Bhojpur, Saharsa, Gopalganj, East Champaran, Rohtas, Supaul, Madhepura and Kishanganj, where more than 90 per cent sowing has been completed.
State Agriculture Minister Prem Kumar said the government is keeping a close eye to the ground. "Chief Minister has called a meeting to review the situation of rain on Monday, after which some regions may be declared 'drought-hit'," he said.
He also said that the state government has increased the diesel subsidy from Rs 50 per litre to Rs 60 per litre to help the farmers in irrigation.